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Review: Unique Civil War Biography

Kim C 07 Feb 03 - 04:18 PM
Irish sergeant 07 Feb 03 - 03:25 PM
Kim C 05 Feb 03 - 12:56 PM
JedMarum 05 Feb 03 - 09:35 AM
Cornflake 04 Feb 03 - 04:18 PM
JedMarum 04 Feb 03 - 11:13 AM
JJ 14 Jan 03 - 08:54 AM
GUEST 13 Jan 03 - 08:22 PM
JedMarum 13 Jan 03 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 13 Jan 03 - 04:30 PM
Kim C 13 Jan 03 - 03:10 PM
JedMarum 13 Jan 03 - 10:10 AM
JedMarum 12 Jan 03 - 10:04 AM
JJ 12 Jan 03 - 09:47 AM
Stephen L. Rich 11 Jan 03 - 11:32 PM
Deckman 11 Jan 03 - 09:50 PM
GUEST,colwyn dane 11 Jan 03 - 09:47 PM
Little Hawk 11 Jan 03 - 05:22 PM
JedMarum 11 Jan 03 - 04:53 PM
Stephen L. Rich 10 Jan 03 - 05:45 PM
Kim C 10 Jan 03 - 05:03 PM
Little Hawk 09 Jan 03 - 11:42 PM
Deckman 09 Jan 03 - 11:39 PM
JedMarum 09 Jan 03 - 11:06 PM
Deckman 09 Jan 03 - 11:04 PM
Little Hawk 09 Jan 03 - 10:52 PM
Deckman 09 Jan 03 - 10:21 PM
Deckman 09 Jan 03 - 10:19 PM
Stephen L. Rich 09 Jan 03 - 09:46 PM
Deckman 09 Jan 03 - 09:23 PM
Stephen L. Rich 09 Jan 03 - 09:15 PM
Stephen L. Rich 09 Jan 03 - 09:13 PM
ballpienhammer 09 Jan 03 - 08:34 PM
Charley Noble 09 Jan 03 - 11:23 AM
Kim C 09 Jan 03 - 09:47 AM
JedMarum 09 Jan 03 - 09:41 AM
Stephen L. Rich 09 Jan 03 - 01:03 AM
JedMarum 08 Jan 03 - 05:38 PM
wildlone 08 Jan 03 - 05:14 PM
JedMarum 08 Jan 03 - 02:16 PM
Kim C 08 Jan 03 - 01:47 PM
JedMarum 08 Jan 03 - 01:12 PM
JedMarum 08 Jan 03 - 01:08 PM
Kim C 08 Jan 03 - 11:15 AM
Deckman 08 Jan 03 - 02:46 AM
Little Hawk 08 Jan 03 - 01:03 AM
mack/misophist 08 Jan 03 - 12:55 AM
JedMarum 08 Jan 03 - 12:15 AM
JedMarum 08 Jan 03 - 12:13 AM
Deckman 07 Jan 03 - 07:23 PM
Stephen L. Rich 07 Jan 03 - 06:48 PM
Deckman 07 Jan 03 - 03:40 PM
Kim C 07 Jan 03 - 02:22 PM
ballpienhammer 07 Jan 03 - 12:32 PM
alanabit 07 Jan 03 - 12:12 PM
Kim C 07 Jan 03 - 11:58 AM
Little Hawk 07 Jan 03 - 11:12 AM
ballpienhammer 07 Jan 03 - 08:59 AM
JedMarum 06 Jan 03 - 08:57 PM
ballpienhammer 06 Jan 03 - 08:55 PM
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Kim C 06 Jan 03 - 10:52 AM
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Stephen L. Rich 05 Jan 03 - 11:50 AM
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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Kim C
Date: 07 Feb 03 - 04:18 PM

Sheridan had what I call Little Dog Syndrome - because he was substantially smaller in stature than his peers, he made a much bigger ass of himself.

If I remember right, what he actually said was, "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead."


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 07 Feb 03 - 03:25 PM

Good afternoon all: A very entertaining thread. It seemed like a goood one to get back on Mudcat with. The interesting thing for me about the Civil War is the fact that the people involved were complex people. The times might have been simpler but the people certainly were not.
   I believe, had the South won the Civil War, the Confederacy would have Balkanized (Split and went their separate ways) I cite a notable Confederate as my proof; "It the South dies you may say it was killed by states rights" Jefferson Davis.
   I do understand why some don't like Sherman. Although I must add that he was thought of far better by Southerners immediately following the Civil War than now. JOsepph E, Johnston caught Pneumonia after going hatless to Sherman's funeral and reasoned sherman would have done the same for him. I certainly can understand about Sheridan. Never cared for him after I discovered that he was the one who came up with "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" remark, (and for the record I am not of Native American extraction.)
Sherman did tell them how the war would proceed and both sides thought he was crazy. (He was actually going to berelieved of duty for a time but Grant vetoed that idea.) More later, Neil


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Kim C
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 12:56 PM

Jeb Stuart is a hero of mine - I have a book of his letters that I bought somewhere in Virginia. The quality of letter writing at that time seems so much greater than it is now. The book begins with letters that Stuart wrote home when he was away at boarding school as a teenager. He laments the fact he hasn't had a letter from home in awhile, and says something to the effect of "surely you must have some pity on a poor insignificant whelp away from his mammy."

Do you know any 13 year-olds now who would even conceive of such?

People were also not so reserved about their feelings for one another, at least in personal writings. Stuart wrote to his close friend, Custis Lee, "come visit me and you can share my blanket." People look at that now and think it's some kind of sexual overture. It isn't. Blankets were scarce and soldiers, including officers, had to share. It was simply an expression of friendship and hospitality.

Then there were the letters he wrote to his cousin - I believe her name was Nannie Dundee or something like that, and if I remember correctly, she was engaged to marry Heros von Borcke at some point. Anyway - to the modern eye, these very sweet, impassioned letters look as if Stuart was pulling one over on his wife. But it wasn't that at all. Jeb and Flora had lost a baby. He wanted someone to talk to, and believed Flora couldn't bear to talk about the dead child. He didn't want to upset her any more than she was, so he turned to his cousin, and shared his grief with her.

Jed - sometimes incidents like the little girl being shot stay local, for whatever reason. There may be something in the state archives there.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 05 Feb 03 - 09:35 AM

Most of us involved in this thread think like you, Cornflake; we want to understand this period of history that so much shaped who we are today, as a nation and as a culture. It is the personal stories of experience that truly interest me, though more the general histories do too.

Thanks for joining the conversation.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Cornflake
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 04:18 PM

I can't answer the last question but I wanted to comment on what an interesting and civil thread this is. Jeb Stuart was a relation and I have a book about a not-famous ancestor of mine who was killed while serving in the Confederate Army. Lots of his letters to his wife are reprinted in the book. These days many people seem more interested in passing judgment on the Civil War than on understanding it but the comments here haven't been like that. For that, thanks to all.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Feb 03 - 11:13 AM

I have found some answers to the questions I posted above ("looking for background info"), in case there is still some interest on the subject.

Briefly; I had found an account in the memoirs of an Irish Brigade soldier of a little girl killed accidentally by federal cannon fire at Charlestown WV in Oct 1962. I wanted to know more about the incident; who were the CSA forces, etc.

I have summarized what I've since learned below:

A reference entitled, "The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies" states that on Oct 16/17 1862 during a Reconnaisance from Harper's Ferry to Charlestown WV - and "a skirmish enroute" the union senior Federal officers present were Generals WS Hancock and JC Caldwell.

The same reference states that Col. Thomas T Munsford was commanding the Second Virginia Cavalry (listed as Second Virginia Infantry in another document). The Second Virginia later became the Fifth West Virginia Cavalry.

Hancock and one of the junior officers present (Maj FA Walker) had some corespondence during these days, and very little to say about the actions - but they did discuss confederate troop locations and movements. They did mention some skirmishing and small numbers of casualties.

I've found Munsford's comments for the same period of time. He made only general comments about the location, over the few weeks he was in command there.

I still have not found any specifics on the incident of the little girl accidentally killed by federal artillary fire. What was her name? Are there any other accounts of the incident? Is there a memorial to her in WV?


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JJ
Date: 14 Jan 03 - 08:54 AM

I never understood the Civil War in the west until I read Grant's memoirs. Twain called them the finest military memoirs since Julius Caesar's, but then, Twain was Grant's publisher!

Grant's Tomb is rather out of the way (at Riverside Drive and 122nd Street) and tourists will not stumble over it by accident, but they still come.

Across the street from Grant's Tomb in Sakura Park is a statue of Gen. Dan Butterfield, the man who wrote "Taps," by Gutzon Borglum, who later carved Mt. Rushmore.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 08:22 PM

Jed et al
I read,some years back,the two volume set of memoirs,which had a Public Library acceptance date stamp of 1890 or so,and which included a facsimile of the Grant/Lee surrender document.
Grant's memoirs,1952 edition,are online
here.
In chapter 18 Grant describes a valuable lesson he learnt very early in the CW when moving against Colonel Thomas Harris and his force; if not exactly a revelation then a point of view he had not realised before.

JJ
Your post about Grant's Tomb made me reach for my books and in an autobiographical work by General Grenville M. Dodge found a chapter about the dedication ceremony of the tomb - Dodge was the Grand Marshal of the dedication parade.

Julia Dent Grant revealed that when General Grant and herself were in Europe they paid a visit to the tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella, both lying side by side in the tomb. The thought of the royal couple sleeping side by side for centuries appealed to Grant and turning to her, he said, "Julia, this is the way we should be in death."

The Grant monument was dedicated on April 27th, 1897. The parade of three divisions marched from Madison Square to the tomb, about four miles, and was then the largest parade ever seen in New York. It took five hours, closed in solid column, passing the review stand. The day was a cold, windy, uncomfortable day, but the police estimated that over 'three million of people' lined the sidewalks.
President McKinley gave an address and then General Horace Porter delivered the following oration [I post it as it was described by Dodge as 'a remarkable one, one of the finest probably ever delivered in this country.']:

"Most of the conspicuous characters in history have risen to prominence by gradual steps, but the senior of the Triumvirate, whose features are recalled to us today, came before the people with a sudden bound. Almost the first sight caught of him was in the blaze of his camp-fires and the flashes of his guns those wintry days and nights in front of Donelson. From that time unitl the closing triumph at Appomattox the great central figure of the war was Ulysses S. Grant. As light and shade produce the most attractive effects in a picture, the singular contrasts, the strange vicissitudes of his eventful life surround him with an interest which attaches to few characters in history. His rise from a obscure Lieutenant to the command of the veteran armies of the great Republic; his transition from a frontier post of the untrodden West to the Executive Mansion of the nation; his sitting at one time in a little store in Galena, not even known to the Congressman from his district; at another time striding through the palaces of the old world with the descendants of a line of kings rising and standing with uncovered heads in his presence. These are some of the features of his marvellous career which appeal to the imagination, excite men's wonder and fascinate all who make a study of his life.
He was created for great emergencies. It was the very magnitude of the task which called forth the powers which mastered it. In ordinary matters he was an ordinary man; in momentous affairs he towered as a giant. When performing the routine duties of a company post there was no act to make him conspicuous above his fellow officers, but when he wielded Corps and Armies the great qualities of the Commander flashed forth, and his master strokes of genius stamped him as the foremost soldier of his age. When he hauled wood from his little farm and sold it in St. Louis his financiering was hardly equal to that of the small farmers about him but when a message was to be sent by a President to Congress that would puncture the fallacies of the inflationists and throttle, by a veto, the attempt of unwise legislators to cripple the finances of the Nation, a State paper was produced which has ever since commanded the wonder and admiration of every believer in sound currency. He was made for great things, not for little things. He could collect fifteen millions from Great britain in settlement of the Alabama claims; he could not protect his own personal savings from the miscreants who robbed him in wall street.
If there is one word which describes better than any other the predominating characteristic of his nature, that word is loyalty. He was loyal to his friends, loyal to his family, loyal to his country, and loyal to his God. This trait naturally produced a reciprocal effect upon those who were brought into relations with him and was one of the chief reasons why men became so loyally attached to him. Many a public man has had troops of adherents who clung to him only for the patronage dispensed at his hands, or being dazzled by his power, became blind partisans to a cause he represented, but perhaps no other man than General Grant ever had so many friends who loved him for his own sake, whose affection only strengthened with time, whose attachment never varied in its devotion, whether he was General or President or simply a private citizen.
Even the valour of his martial deeds was surpassed by the superb heroism he displayed when fell disease attacked him; when the hand which had seized the surrendered swords of countless thousands was no longer able to return the pressure of a comrade's grasp, when he met in death the first enemy to whom he ever surrendered. But with him death brought eternal rest, and he was permitted to enjoy what he had pleaded for in behalf of others - for the Lord had let him have peace."

Is Grant's Tomb still a popular tourist attraction?

After the war Dodge was associated with Grant in various enterprises,such as the railway from the City of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, and he writes:"...of that peculiar make-up which let small matters go without attention, but in any crisis would rise to command it. He was so modest and so simple that his greatness was absolutely forced upon one from his very acts."

What I can make out from all of this is that Grant was an extraordinary man by being a great soldier and an ordinary man.

Regards
CD


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 04:49 PM

Yes Pete, we spoke of grant's memoirs earlier in the thread, and I agree hi memoirs were well worth reading.

Thank Kim. I'll hope you can find something.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 04:30 PM

Have any of you Civil War buffs out there taken the time to read Grant's memoirs? Well worth the time it takes and wonderfully written besides-- Gertrude Stein disgreed with the Adamses & called it the best prose ever written in English. Besides-- the circumstances under which it was written are themselves incredible-- Grant had just been betrayed by a business associate and was close to penniless, and had just learned he had throat cancer and it was inoperable. He wrote those after he could no longer speak, racing against time to leave his family provided for. And he finished them.
And if this weren't enough, somebody named Ev Ehrlich recently wrote a book called Grant Speaks -- purporting to be the discarded first draft of Grant's memoirs-- and the more you know about the Civil War the more you'll laugh. (Gotta write Ehrlich and thank him. He deserves better than to have his book on remainder tables, which is where i found my copy)
Kim, I think I agree with you about Grant the civilian. But as a nation we're lucky we had him as a general.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Kim C
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 03:10 PM

Jed, I am still looking, if I find anything I will give you a holler.

Grant the Civilian was simply Too Nice of a Guy. He trusted too many people and because of it, he lost a lot of money personally, and his presidential administration was dirty. Everybody loves a war hero, but they don't always make the best presidents.

Something about him that I find personally endearing is that he didn't want his wife, Julia, to have her crossed eye corrected. He said he liked her exactly as she was. :-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 10:10 AM

I think I've run out of places to look for my questions above (who were the CSA troops at Charlestown WN in Oct of 1862). At least, I've exhausted my on-line research options. I may have to go downtonw to the Dallas library.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 12 Jan 03 - 10:04 AM

CD - thanks very much for that text. I read it woth great enjoyment!

I understand Adam's point about evolution - but relaize that he failed to understand that evolution does not progress in a single straight line! In fact, I would say that Grant rise actually demonstrates 'survival of the fitest" very well indeed! Though, in this case we are not talking aout the evolution of education and culture as it is developed in a single human being and his position. It is rathter shown that across a given society, the man most suited to rise t the top will have the abilities required to bring success - in this case, win the damn war! The rebellion was not going to go away on its own, the rebels were going to figh to the death, the fact that the union had more war making machinery was not going to win the war - it had to be fought, fought hard, fought long and it had to be a complete and utter vistory. The generals at the head of the Union prior to Grant, just didn't have what it took to win under those circumstances. Grant did not have the spit and polish education or social skills - perhaps not even the intelligence that Adams presumed were necessary to prove a superior achievment of evolution - but he did know what was required to win the war.

Great thoughts here, all. Good insights, LH


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JJ
Date: 12 Jan 03 - 09:47 AM

The true measure of Grant's courage came later, when he fought off cancer long enough to finish his memoirs and leave his family provided for.

A few years ago I visited Grant's Tomb (on Riverside Drive in New York City) and asked the ranger there what the official answer was to the question, "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?"

He replied, "No one is buried in Grant's Tomb. The General and Mrs. Grant are entombed there."


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 11:32 PM

colwyn dane -- thanks for posting that.

Little Hawk -- Quite right. I'm just at the point in "Grant & Lee..." just after Grant has been stuck with the aftermath of the stock swindle. Before and after the war Grants life was a mess.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 09:50 PM

Hmmmm? Very interesting!


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: GUEST,colwyn dane
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 09:47 PM

I suspect the attributes a winning general was expected to have didn't apply to Grant; he was no Halleck or Hardee who both wrote manuals on military tactics/war or no McClellan who had his well trained army but was afflicted many times with "a dose of the slows". In boxing terms Grant,perhaps,was more like a Joe Louis type of boxer - going forward to seek out the opponent - "he can run but he can't hide" - with all guns concentrated and blazing away at the target.

Charles Francis Adams was the US minister to the UK between 1861-5 and whilst there his son Henry acted as his private secretary.
The autobiographical work "The Education Of Henry Adams" contains this appreciation of Grant and Lee.


Adams did not feel Grant as a hostile force; like Badeau he saw only an uncertain one. When in action he was superb and safe to follow; only when torpid he was dangerous. To deal with him one must stand near, like Rawlins, and practice more or less sympathetic habits. Simple-minded beyond the experience of Wall Street or State Street, he resorted, like most men of the same intellectual calibre, to commonplaces when at a loss for expression: "Let us have peace!" or, "The best way to treat a bad law is to execute it"; or a score of such reversible sentences generally to be gauged by their sententiousness; but sometimes he made one doubt his good faith; as when he seriously remarked to a particularly bright young woman that Venice would be a fine city if it were drained. In Mark Twain, this suggestion would have taken rank among his best witticisms; in Grant it was a measure of simplicity not singular. Robert E. Lee betrayed the same intellectual commonplace, in a Virginian form, not to the same degree, but quite distinctly enough for one who knew the American. What worried Adams was not the commonplace; it was, as usual, his own education.Grant fretted and irritated him, like the Terebratula, as a defiance of first principles. He had no right to exist. He should have been extinct for ages. The idea that, as society grew older, it grew one-sided, upset evolution, and made of
education a fraud. That, two thousand years after Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, a man like Grant should be called--and should actually and truly be--the highest product of the most advanced evolution, made evolution ludicrous. One must be as commonplace as Grant's own commonplaces to maintain such an absurdity. The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.


Perhaps Grant was too simple to be understood by folk from a different background - such as Henry Adams who after all came from a family which had a presence in US politics since the Revolution.
I'm a Big fan of Grant the fighter.
Regards
CD.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 05:22 PM

Yep. Grant was a disaster in peacetime, but he knew how to fight a war. The key with most people is situating them in the right place at the right time, I suppose.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 04:53 PM

Not only did they do nothing, they worked to hold donw those who did! The skills to rise to the top of a peacetime military were certainly NOT the skills needed to rise to the top of a wartime military! The Army of the Potomac certainly proved that, prior to US Grant's rise. The Federal victory was NOT simply a matter of Northern might, power and resources. Grant built a wining military AND political strategy, and was effective (not flawless) at directing its execution.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 05:45 PM

The problem with all of the general appointed to that post before Grant was that none of of them actually did anything except to drill, move the troops about a bit, and burry thier noses in military strategy histories.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Kim C
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 05:03 PM

Burnside would have been better off had he stuck to haberdashery.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:42 PM

I think it was most unfair to the South when Lincoln removed Burnside as supreme commander. That lad deserved another chance to prove himself!

- LH


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:39 PM

Yes, I would say so! Thanks for the posting. Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:06 PM

Wilmer McLean moved away after the first battle of the war destroyed his home - he setteled where the war would never reach, and they wound up using the living room of his new (safe) house for the surrender ceremony...

a bit of irony, eh?


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:04 PM

Oh Dear! The spelling Police have caught me ... again! bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 10:52 PM

Sumpter? Is that like hampster? :-) I figure with a place called "Sumpter" they should've just flooded them out from the basement on up by blocking the drains.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 10:21 PM

NO NO NO! Wait a minute. Maybe I've got it! Was he the Confederate soldier that fired off the first cannon at Fort Sumpter? Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 10:19 PM

Oh Gosh! Here is where I have to publicly display my ignornance ... I HATE THAT WHEN IT HAPPENS! Wait a minute! Was he the first one killed? CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:46 PM

Deckman -- i was refering to Wilmer McLean.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:23 PM

Hi Stephan ... "remember how it began and how it ended." Are you perhaps referring to the facts surrounding John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry, and the further fact that it was none other that Robert E. Lee that was called upon to put down that incident? Just curious. Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:15 PM

I should also admit that i like the irony of it. The Civil War itself was full of that sort of thing. Remember how it began and ended.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:13 PM

Jed, you have a very wise son.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: ballpienhammer
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:34 PM

I didn't find much on Charleston, WV as a battle site, but NEAR Charles Town, WV, are Antietam (in MD) and Harper's Ferry, WV. Both of these historical sites bore important ACW/WBTS events.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:23 AM

Just another thought, Deckman, on "Dixies Sunny South"; it seem to also work well with the tune to "Range of the Buffalo."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Kim C
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:47 AM

Jed, Mister said the Charlestown engagement was ringing a little bell but offhand he didn't know very much. I reckon we will have to hit the books! :-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:41 AM

When I moved to Texas with my family, my eldest son's first high school was Robert E Lee High School in Houston. I said to him, "don't you think it's a bit ironic, you being related to US Grant would be going to Robert E Lee High School?" He said, "Yeah Dad, I think I'll keep it to myself!"


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 01:03 AM

Robert E. Lee didn't think that war was a wise idea either.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 05:38 PM

thanks, dave. looks like a good site, but I didn't find anything about the Charlestown WV event ... yet.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: wildlone
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 05:14 PM

Here is a link to Virginia in the civil war,
http://members.aol.com/jweaver300/grayson/vacwhp.htm
dave


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 02:16 PM

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Kim C
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 01:47 PM

Oooh. I don't know. There used to be a website called something like West Virginia in the Civil War... I thought I had it bookmarked but I can't seem to find it.

I will ask Mister this evening when I get home. He is a regular treasure trove of information. :-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 01:12 PM

... as for never again will wars be attended by dignity top both sides? Shame on us, if it is not! The Iraqi soldiers who surrendered in huge numbers in the early 90's were certainly treated with respect, dignity and humanity. It would becriminla of us NOT to do the same thing again, if in fact it comes to a war and there are similar incidents of surrender.

I know we cannot expect the same treatment from their forces, but would hope we will have very few of our soldiers fall into their hands.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 01:08 PM

I am looking for backgound info on the engagement that took over Charlestown WV in Oct 1862. The Irish Brigade was there, and shelled the city, chasing out the rebel forces who did not put a serious fight to keep the place. Who were the CSA forces there? Who led them? I have posted a request for info on a CW website, but don't have feedback yet - Kim, I though you might know, or know where I can find out.

Also, do you know the story behind the little girl killed there? The one from that new song I wrote? Her name? Any info on her Dad - who I believe fought for the Confederacy?


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Kim C
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 11:15 AM

I find Sherman an extremely interesting character. Of course, I can't say that too loudly down here where I live. Sherman was against the Civil War. He rightly thought it was a stupid idea. And like Grant, he failed as a businessman, but shined as a soldier. He had grit and determination.

I adore Stonewall Jackson. Talk about someone with determination! He got into West Point by a stroke of luck, and was so intent on doing well that he studied late into the night by candlelight. As an instructor at VMI, his students made fun of him. He seemed entirely goofy to them, but he knew what was going on. (does that sound like anyone else we know?)

He worked his soldiers hard. I read an anecdote about two soldiers talking. One said, I wish those Yankees would go to hell. His friend replied, I don't! Old Jack would make us march down there after them!

My big hero, though, is Jeb Stuart. There isn't a much prettier sight than a man in uniform on horseback. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 02:46 AM

Hi misophist ... regarding your comments about bushes upcomming war ... I couldn't agree with you more. Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 01:03 AM

By the way, Stonewall Jackson was the ablest fighting general of them all. No moss grew under that man. His loss at Chancellorsville was a tremendous blow to the South. Jackson & Lee together were an almost unbeatable combination on the battlefield.

The guys that really ticked me off in that war were Sherman & Sheridan. They both knew how to win battles, that's for sure, but I don't like 'em. Never did, and probably never will.

They were hell on the South, and they were hell on Indians afterward. I am sorry that Crazy Horse did not put a final end to both of them.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: mack/misophist
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 12:55 AM

Why the South lost the War Between the States. Sometimes I think that's the only thing we studied in history. The North had the men; tens of thousands or Irish and German immegrants. Most of the Germans had already had basic military training at home. The North had the industry. The South had a LOT of small factories but the North had a lot of big ones. The South had about 3 or 4 times as much railway laid as most people think but it was in about 10 different gauges; long haul transport was a lost cause. A story: The South kept regiments intact, even though there were only a few men left in them. When the Yankees fired into the Southern troops at Appomattox, many did so with tears in their eyes because the mass of banners made it clear that this was the corpse of a once great army. Although the Southern cause was clearly wrong, it may have been the last honourable war the world will see. How many young Iraqui colonels will seek to parley with an American general for advice on their proper military duties. Never again.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 12:15 AM

I think your assement is right Little Hawk ... f the Confederacy could have worn down the Union's will to fight, and they did a pretty darn good job at the start ... they might have negitiated a peace. I also agree, it the peace wouldn't have lasted.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 12:13 AM

Bruce Catton's style is riveting - I will have to look up "A Stillness at Appomattox." His work on Grant was first rate.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 07:23 PM

Hi Stephen ... Of course not! You bring up an interesting point. This is NOT my song. I did not write it. Some else did. I have a family tie to it, but that's all. I'm NOT a songwriter, and as such, I value songwriters as those wonderful magicians that can somehow weave words together in a tapestry that captures all of us.

And yes, I feel the piece is extremely powerful. I actually perform it rarely because of it's impact on people. Suggestion ... get yourself to the Andersonville Prison site, stand there, look at what you see, and try to sing the song! I'll bet you can't do it!

This is the value of songs. This is what we are all about.

CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 06:48 PM

Deckman -- I just printed out the poem and sang it to the tune you recommended ("Lilly of the West"). That is an incredibley powerful piece of work.
Thank you very much for posting that one. Would you object if I started singing it publically?

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 03:40 PM

As I mentioned earlier, I just finished some major reading about the war. I read the entire Time/Life series of books. I recommend them highly. Rather than just detailing this battle, or that battle, the series went into depth regarding ALL the elements of the war. For a 'first read' of the subject, it was quite educational. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Kim C
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 02:22 PM

Right. We ran out of stuff. :-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: ballpienhammer
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 12:32 PM

I think the South lost because of: 1. Lack of men to fight; 2. lack of unity from the individual states to back the central government in Richmond; 3.The war was fought on Southern soil, depleting food and supplies.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 12:12 PM

Bill Zorn's take on that was that the Southern generals used to talk so slowly, that the battles were over before they were able to complete giving their orders!
If I get my hands on it, I'll read the book Steve Rich recommended. I read Bruce Catton's "A Stillness at Appomattox". Even by the standards of books on war - and I have read a few - I found that very sad. What an awful tragedy it was.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Kim C
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 11:58 AM

Yep.

I always think it's funny, all these books about "Why The South Lost The War." That's easy.

We just ran out of stuff.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 11:12 AM

Longstreet had the right idea (find good ground, dig in and defend), and it could have won the South some important battles. Lee's penchant for bold attack led to some victories...and some VERY costly losses here and there, but he was still a brilliant general, all considered, and an inspiration to his troops.

It was later in the war (after Gettysburg) that circumstances forced Lee to resort regularly to the defensive tactics recommended by Longstreet (as in the Wilderness campaign), and they worked very well, but the Big Blue Horde eventually ground down the Army of Northern Virginia regardless, through sheer numbers.

And strategically speaking, the key victories were won elsewhere, in the West, at places like Shiloh, Jackson, Vicksburg, Island # 10, and so on. All of Lee's expertise in the East could not change that.

I think the South had only one hope in that war...an early victory at the very outset, after Bull Run, by an immediate and unhesitating advance on Washington. That might have demoralized the North enough to cause them to sue for peace (but Lincoln was not a man easily turned aside from his path).

If it had happened that way, however, there would probably have been another war between the States anyway, within 5 or 10 years, over disputed areas in the West or some other pretext. I don't think they could have tolerated sharing the same continental area for long.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: ballpienhammer
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 08:59 AM

Ya can read and reread all the books, watch the movies and hear the Hx but when you walk the paths they walked on and drink from the creek those young bloodied boys drank from, sit up on a boulder in Devil's Den where a sharpshooter once took aim at a boy from Tennessee, you'll get a rush of goosebumps you'll never forget. And, like a good dream or good lovin', you want more and more. There's a covered bridge near the Eisenhower Farm, on the edge of the battleground, that's been rebuilt from a flood. Come sit on that bridge, look down on the muddy water and picture the tired, bedraggled men who sat for a few minutes quenching a long thirst after marching for miles and miles. Trees hang down over the water at Marsh Creek; some say there's a frew trout there but I know many a parched belly was filled there 150 years ago in early July. It's an eerie feeling you get and it stays with you and although you realize these fields and hills have been reborn with new grass and new hands a-tillin', the blood of the dead and maimed emerges in the topsoil ever retelling the tradgedies of mens greed and intolerance.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 06 Jan 03 - 08:57 PM

I must admit I was really hit with awe when I stood at the spot where (we believe) Stonewall Jackson was shot, just prior to his death.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: ballpienhammer
Date: 06 Jan 03 - 08:55 PM

Y'all come to Gettysburg for the real thing! If you've never been here you'll find a very unique spiritual experience when you walk through the Wheatfield and Devil's Den or ride a horse across the very farms where Pickett charged the Union Army. Culp's Hill at sundown: sit on a rock and listen to the boys rattling their canteens at Spangler's Spring. Uncanny.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 06 Jan 03 - 01:54 PM

Grant really became human to me, after reading his memoirs and the Catton history. My wife's family is related to US Grant (GGGrandfather and US were first cousins) - so the research had a bit of a personal interest as well. I already had a great respect for his leadership and his accomplishments under the circumstances, but it was clearer to me me how he was able to lead through those times and pressures, by reading his own thoughts and further analysis of his actions against the backdrop of history. I had read about Lincoln, and much period history - so to focus on Grant after I'd developed a strong background of the history, was a good thing.

I will pursue Lee one day, another for my heroes from the era.


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Kim C
Date: 06 Jan 03 - 10:52 AM

Deckman, I had a cousin at Andersonville, so I would be curious to read the book as well. Lovely poem, too.

Diverging from the subject just a little: Mister and I will be in Galena, Illinois, April 11-12, playing for U.S. Grant's birthday celebration.

Lee and Grant are both more complex people than we are usually led to believe. Both had lives before and after the Civil War.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DIXIE'S SUNNY LAND
From: Deckman
Date: 06 Jan 03 - 01:03 AM

DIXIES SUNNY LAND

Come friends and fellow soldiers, come listen to my song,
About that rebel prison and how we endured so long,
Our wretched state and hardships great, no one can understand,
But those who have endured this fate, in Dixies sunny land.

When captured by the chivalry (cavalry?) and stripped unto the skin,
They failed to give us back again, the value of a pin,
Except some filthy rags of grease, discarded by their band,
And thus commenced our prison life, in Dixies sunny land.

The host of guards surrounded us, each one with loaded gun,
We were stationed in an open field, exposed to rain and sun,
No tent nor tree to shelter us, we lay upon the sand,
And side by side great numbers died, in Dixies sunny land.

What was our daily bill of fare, in that secesh (hell fire?) hole,
No coffee, tea, no sugar there, 'nor rest for mortal man,
But a pint of meal, ground cob and all, was served to every man,
For want of fire we ate it raw, in Dixies sunny land.

Our temper it was often tried, by many a threat and bribe,
To desert our glorious union, and join the rebel tribe,
Tho fain we were to leave that place, we let them understand,
We'd sooner die than thus disgrace, our flag in Dixies land.

How sad those weary monents seemed, as weeks and months rolled by,
And yet no tidings came to us, from loved ones far away,
While we lay to starve and die, upon the burning sand,
Away from friends and homes so dear, in Dixies sunny land.

When landed at Annapolis, a wretched looking band,
But glad to be alive and free, from Dixies sunny land,
Having gained our wasted strength, all dressed in union blue,
We'll pay them back our vegence dear, or die there bitter foe.

These are the words as I scribbled them from my great grandfathers book in 1956. As far as I know, which really isn't very far, this song has not been recorded. So, appreciate this song, research it more. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 06 Jan 03 - 12:31 AM

Hello Jimmy C: Yes, I am aware of that. Captain WIRTZ was the very FIRST person convicted of war crimes. It is with some tredipation that I mention this: if you go to google, and punch in Andersonville Prison, you will bring up many, many entries. There is now, a great deal of controversy regarding the justice of Capt. Wirtz's execution. My concern here is twofold: first is that we've done quite a thread drift from the original posting; and also, I do NOT want to start fighting the civil war all over again. And, if no one else has been able to post the song O mentioned, I will do so in morning. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Jimmy C
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 11:26 PM

Deckman, you are probably aware of this, but the warden of Andersonville a Capt Weiss ( or Wiess or a similar name) originally from Switzerland I believe was the only man tried and executed for war crimes commmitted during the civil war. Please post the words of the song, I'm sure many would be interested.

Thanks

jimmy


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 10:15 PM

Of course I would be honored to share the song with you. I have been bouncing around the archives for some time now, and for some reason, probably my own ignorance, I cannot seem to locate a previous thread that detailed this song. My hard copy of that thread says that it was titled: "A Civil War Song", dated just one year ago ... 1/9/02. The song that I mention is titled "Dixies Sunny Land". A later post credits it to a: John Lauffer. I'll bet someone smarter than I can reserect that thread and do a blue clicky thing. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 05:08 PM

The preface to the book included a poem. I assumed at the time that it probably was a song sung in the prison, or more likely sung after the war was over. Not knowing the melody, I sang it to the melody of "Lilly of the West." I've enjoyed that song for years.

Would you care to share it with us, Deckman?


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 04:28 PM

Thank you WILDLONE for posting this website. I have only briefly skimmed it, but it appears to be a wonderful resource! Have a Merry Sunday. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: wildlone
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 03:39 PM

Thanks for the info on ACW books,I belong to a UK re-enactment group that depict the ACW. I am a hospital steward in the 23rd Va coI and as such would look after the wounded on both sides.
We try to inform the public on the great loss of life and the suffering that the war caused to America as a whole.
I find this site is allways a good one when starting to research about the ACW http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/warweb.html

Cheers dave,
BTW I have just joined a group that re-enact the war of 1812, the 41st foot


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 03:02 PM

Yes, I think the story of my Great Grandfather, G.W. Murray is interesting, but perhaps only to me. He was from Mass., and was catured by the Rebs at the battle of Antietam, I believe. He and some of his brothers eventually ended up at the notorius Andersonville Prison, in Georgia. After his release, he wrote a small book titled: "A History of George W. Murray: and his Long Confinement at Andersonville, Ga.: also the startvation and death of his three brothers, at the same place/by himself."

In 1956, I was heading into the Army that Fall, so that Summer I took off to explore the country. I left Seattle and headed for Wissconsin. Somehow I got lost and ended up in Columbus, Georgia. While there, I visited Andersonville Prison. At that time, it was not a national memorial yet, so the displays and markers were not as they are today. However I was very moved by the experience. On my way home, I stopped in Springfield, Illinois and found a copy of this book at the State Library. As there were no copying machines at the time, all I could do was to spend a couple of days and read it there.

The preface to the book included a poem. I assumed at the time that it probably was a song sung in the prison, or more likely sung after the war was over. Not knowing the melody, I sang it to the melody of "Lilly of the West." I've enjoyed that song for years.

By the way, if anyone is interested in reading the story of Andersonville, I strongly recommend MacKinlay Kantor's book "Andersonville." He won a Pulitzler Prize for this work. I had read the book prior to my trip and I have just finished re-reading it.

Just before xmas of this year, my local librarian, here in Everett, Washington, located several copies of my Grand Father's book. Shortly I expect to hold a copy of it again. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 11:50 AM

I did a Google search. The book is still available from Barnes and Noble. So, it's still in print. If you go to thier website and do an in site search (it can be done by title our author) you should find it. Here's a blue clicky to link you to the site.


Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 11:22 AM

Jed -- The copyright date is 1984, but my wife gave a new copy of it to me for my birthday a couple of years ago (I'm just getting to that point in my reading list now). It was published by Promontory Press.
I'll do a web search and see if I can find something more. Meanwhile check your local used book store.


Deckman -- Your great grandfather was in Andersonville??? Good God, man. Tell us more, please.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 10:39 AM

I thankyou for posting this. I've not been a huge fan of Civil War reading until recently. I have just finished a great reading of the times. And I'm in the process of obtaining a book my Great Grandfather wrote about his experiences as a prisoner in Anersonville Prison. I may well get into this book you mention. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: JedMarum
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 09:54 AM

Thanks for the tip, Stephen. I have just fininshed reading some background on Grant. I read his memoirs, then I read a history by Catton (Grant Takes Command). Great books, both.

I have a military analysis of Lee's effort, written by an author who was critical of Lee's military abilities (basically, he felt that Lee, like Longstreet should have realized that defending from entrenched positions was a far more effective tactic - and Lee should not have lost Gettysburg). I lost interest early on and put the book down - but I'll probably try it again.

I am very interested in Lee - though I have not read anything specifically on him yet (beyond the book I mentioned above). I'm also interested in Jackson. But right now - I am reading about the Irish Brigade (Meagher and company). I started with MY LIFE IN THE IRISH BRIGADE - the memoirs of Pvt Wm McCarter. And now I'm reading another memoir by David Conygnham called THE IRISH BRIGADE AND ITS CAMPAIGNS (it's a bit rah rah Irish guys, with David's political message - but that's part of the history).

Was "Lee & Grant: A Dual Biography" by Gene Smith wriotten recently?


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Subject: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 01:16 AM

I must highly recommend "Lee & Grant: A Dual Biography" by Gene Smith. A tandem biography of U.S. Grant and Robert E. Lee is long overdue sort of thing given how their respective lives were tied together by the events of their era (not just the Civil War). The book helps one to understand a good deal of their lives were shaped by events, how events were shaped by their lives, and how the sum total shaped us.

Stephen Lee


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